Journal Article

Human chorionic gonadotrophin treatment prior to microdissection testicular sperm extraction in non-obstructive azoospermia

Koji Shiraishi, Chietaka Ohmi, Tomoyuki Shimabukuro and Hideyasu Matsuyama

in Human Reproduction

Published on behalf of European Society of Human Reproduction and Embryology

Volume 27, issue 2, pages 331-339
Published in print February 2012 | ISSN: 0268-1161
Published online November 2011 | e-ISSN: 1460-2350 | DOI:
Human chorionic gonadotrophin treatment prior to microdissection testicular sperm extraction in non-obstructive azoospermia

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Despite the improved success rate of sperm retrieval by microdissection testicular sperm extraction (micro-TESE), methods to stimulate spermatogenesis in men with non-obstructive azoospermia (NOA) remain unexplored. The aim of this study was to evaluate the effects of hCG-based hormonal stimulation in men with NOA on the success of sperm retrieval by micro-TESE.


Forty-eight men with NOA who had negative sperm retrieval results by the micro-TESE procedure were included. A second micro-TESE was subsequently performed on these men: 20 were not treated by any hormonal therapy, and 28 subjects received daily subcutaneous injections of hCG for 4–5 months prior to the second micro-TESE. Recombinant FSH was added if endogenous gonadotrophin levels decreased during the hCG stimulation. The sperm retrieval rate at the second micro-TESE; the levels of gonadotrophins, testosterone and estradiol; and the effects of hormonal therapy on testicular histology were evaluated.


Among the 28 men with hCG stimulation, 15 (54%) showed decreased LH and FSH levels (0.67 ± 0.10 and 0.96 ± 0.14 mIU, mean ± SEM, respectively) due to elevated serum testosterone (9.5 ng/dl). Sperm were obtained at the second micro-TESE from six men who had received hormonal therapy (21%), whereas no sperm were retrieved from untreated men (P < 0.05). Success at the second micro-TESE was more likely if histology at the first micro-TESE showed hypospermatogenesis.


The Leydig cells of the testis can respond positively to exogenous hCG even under hypergonadotropic conditions. HCG-based hormonal therapy prior to a second micro-TESE attempt is effective in men with hypospermatogenesis.

Keywords: non-obstructive azoospermia; microdissection testicular sperm extraction; hormonal therapy

Journal Article.  4715 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Reproductive Medicine

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